Teo Musso, born in 1964, designer and author of the success of Baladin, is an icon of the Italian craft beer, thanks to his ‘barley wines’, beers aged in wood with charming spiciness. Now he is carefully considering foreign markets, where he already exports 15% of his production, which at present consists in 12 thousand hectolitres per year: «I am aiming at 25% of the production capacity of our plants, which are set for 20 thousand hectolitres. I have another goal, which consists in characterizing my company as an agricultural brewery with Italian matrix».
Barley and hop Made in Italy
This ambitious project, which is already in an advanced stage, involves the increasing use of home raw materials, from malt to hop, essential for the production of beer, besides, of course, excellent Piedomont's water. Hence, the choice of stocking from Italian producers of barley malt (so far, 365 tonnes from 130 hectares) and providing incentives for the experimental cultivation of hop in a plot of land, in collaboration with the Agricultural Institute of Cussanio (Cn).
For Teo, who started his activity in 1996 at Piozzo, in the province of Cuneo, craft beer is synonymous with live drink, not pasteurized, proposed in the high fermentation version only. Baladin offers more than 30 labels, but the list is continuously updated, thanks to the desire to innovate, in the constant search of the best. This search might be considered as obsessive, and through it the Italian brewer managed to overcome the indifference which for a long time has accompanied Made in Italy beer. Teo explains: «About ten years ago, on the Anglo-Saxon press some articles began to appear, which reported an unexpected phenomenon in our Country: craft breweries, some of which produced highest quality beers. Baladin appeared in the list and this aroused the interest from an importer of the United States, who wanted to know us. In his Country, craft beers were already a blooming market».
Baladin beers are now distributed in the USA, Australia, Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Teo’s story and Baladin’s one are rich in happy moments at a both personal and entrepreneurial level. Teo began with ‘Isaac’, a ‘blanche’ beer inspired by Belgian style dedicated to his son in 1997, the year in which the bitter beer ‘Niña’, too, appeared. In 1998, ‘Noël’, the Christmas beer, was proposed, and in 2000 both ‘Wayan’, the ‘saison’ beer dedicated to his daughter, and ‘Nora’, dedicated to Isaac and Wayan’s mother. Another event, too, dates back to 2000. It explains the success of Baladin abroad, that is the participation in the ‘Great British Beer Festival’, organized every year by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale), the association born in the early '70s and to which the merit of creating the international movement in favour of craft beers is due.
‘Xyauyù’, dating back to 2004, is an Italian style ‘barley wine’ by Baladin. In the following years, other beers have been produced, as for example ‘Mielika’, realized with honey. Important investment both in the opening of premises in some Italian cities (in Rome, Milan and Turin) and in the mentioned cultivations of barley and hop have been carried out.
In 2011, the first ‘Nazionale’ has been produced thanks to the selection exclusively for Baladin of five strains of Italian yeast - the other essential raw material for the production of beer. ‘Nazionale’ is thus a 100% Made in Italy beer by Teo. ‘Etrusca’, the ‘archeobeer’, dates back to 2012, and ‘Pepper’, a ‘saison’ with which a balance between different types of pepper was experienced, to 2013.